I’m a strong believer that music heals. I mean, take one look at our YouTube channel and you can see that Penn and I are all about using music to bring even an ounce of joy to this world. And for me, I’m all about my playlists. I have ones to dance it out or when I’m feeling melancholy or romantic. I put them on for my runs or when I’m cleaning the house. However, when I’m feeling especially sad or anxious, it’s hard to know what to listen to.
In therapy, I’ve learned how important it is to build your toolkit. This is a mental list of things that you know will help you get through a particularly rough patch – whether it’s breathing exercises or comfort tv shows. So that’s why when I feel the heavy clouds of depression parting, I take the time to build out a playlist that makes me feel happy. Simple songs that put a smile on my face. For me, “Happy” by Pharrell is a little too on the nose, but these songs work for me. That way when things start swinging downwards, I know I have something in my toolkit that might help just a little.
1. “Dancing In The Moonlight” by King Harvest
This song puts a smile on my face instantly. I wish I could unlock its secret spell. I’ll have to check with Penn, but it almost sounds like it was recorded live with the whole band playing at the same time in the studio. There’s something about the recording that feels so pure and freeing. I want to take a cue from my girl Drew Barrymore and go twirl in the rain.
2. “Super Trouper” by ABBA
Who doesn’t like ABBA? I’m really sorry if you don’t but the Swedish supergroup has a hold on me like no other. A lot of their songs are smile-inducing but some feel just a little too joyous. There is something about this song when they sing, “But I won’t feel blue, like I always do, cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you.”
3. “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers
I dare you to close your eyes, nod your head to this song, and not feel a smile appear on your face. With that buttery smooth voice, joyous lyrics, and simple melody, this song was created just to turn your day around.
4. “Oh My God” by Adele
It’s always a little bit of a shock to hear Adele singing a happy, fast-paced song, but this one of her latest album 30 is a certified banger. Adele is talking about falling fast into a new love and wondering if she should jump in or not. The joy emanating from her voice is so apparent.
5. “Mirror” by Sigrid
Sigrid’s music is what I would call dance club lite. This song has a fun beat in the background and could be mistaken for a mindless dance song until you hear the second verse, “I love who I see looking at me…in the mirror.” There are some days where I really don’t feel that way but Sigrid sings it with such confidence that it helps ease that feeling just a bit.
6. “Lost on the Way Home” by Chromeo feat. Solange
I personally would listen to Solange singing the phone book, but there is something especially special here listening to her sing with the groovy beats of Chromeo. This is one of those songs that makes you want to get in the car, put all the windows down, and let the sun warm your skin.
7. “star-crossed” by Kacey Musgraves
I’ve put Kacey on playlists before because I think she is incredible at portraying emotions through her singing. This is the first song of her latest album and it’s slow-build puts my heart at ease. I would never think Spanish flamenco guitar and electronic beats could mix, but Kacey pulls it off.
8. “Love Came Down” by Yebba
Similar to Kacey, Yebba puts her emotions on the sleeves of her music. A lot of her music falls into the sad Adele category but this song of her Dawn album has a soft beat that you can’t help but nod along to. Sometimes songs don’t have to be intricate to add a little joy to your day.
9. “Am I Alright” by Aly & AJ
Seeing the names Aly & AJ on my list may come as a shock, but the sisters are still putting out new music to this day. The title of the song pretty much sums up the theme of the lyrics but this line at the end of the song hits me every time – “It can’t be just me who feels this way.”
10. “Satellite” by Harry Styles
When my depression feels extremely bad, it can feel like I’m floating out in space all by myself with nothing to pull me in. Somehow Harry Styles has put that feeling into the words of Satellite and made it into a really catchy, head-bob-inducing song.
11. “Love You Inside Out” by Bee Gees
Look, sometimes there’s a feeling that only funk can cure. Similar to ABBA, there are quite a few good Bee Gee songs but this one feels gentle and kind. Like being put in a warm blanket and rocked to sleep under a disco ball.